Marc Austin will go down in history as the first athlete to win a Triathlon medal for Scotland at a Commonwealth Games; and the nation’s first of the Gold Coast 2018 Games after winning bronze in the Men’s Individual event.
The 24-year-old from Glasgow, who finished 22nd four years-ago, started the race in Australia in a similar vein, coming out of a strong swim into a group containing England’s Brownlee brothers. Unlike Glasgow 2014, the middle section was solid, and he came into the final 5k run in a group of six athletes. As the pack split out, South Africa’s Henri Shoeman pulled ahead with Austin shoulder to shoulder with Jonathan Brownlee with 2k to go.
The pair were caught by Australian Jacob Birtwistle leaving them in a straight race for third with about 1k to go. Marc kept pushing, leaving Brownlee behind him as he approached the line; and despite a strong finish from another home favourite Matthew Hauser, he crossed the line in third place.
Reflecting on his achievement, Marc said: “In Glasgow I thought I was capable of this but quite quickly showed that I wasn’t quite ready. The last four years have been rocky, but my preparation coming into here has been perfect and I’m glad that I’ve delivered.
“It’s great to be a part of Scotland’s medal roster and to get the first medal for us here at the Games. It’s going to take a while to sink in. I knew I was capable of it, but you’re always scared to think that – it’s way beyond what I’ve done before but I knew I could do it.
“I didn’t know I was going to get it until I was about 10m out from the line. If you’d felt what I was feeling with around 1k to go you’d know I’ve left it all out there. When I saw the blue carpet, I knew I could buckle at any time so to get across is just such a relief.
“I just love the sport and the training and even if I’d come away with no medal today I’d still be delighted with my training and my performance. I’ve loved every minute of training for this event. Days like today are so special, but I’m just living the dream at the moment.”
Marc’s teammate Grant Sheldon, a fellow Glasgow 2014 competitor, finished in 17th place. The Stirling based athlete was in a group further down the field following the swim and was unable to catch the leading group.
The Triathlon competition had started with Beth Potter lining up in the Women’s Individual event – the first medal event in the Gold Coast. The Glasgow-born athlete, who will become Scotland’s first ever female athlete competing in two sports when she runs in the women’s 10,000m on 9 April; came into the first transition in the chasing pack following a strong swim.
Potter, 26, couldn’t keep with the chasing pack during the cycle but fought back well in the run to finish 12th; three minutes back from gold medalist Flora Duffy, the reigning World Champion. An impressive feat for only her 6th professional race – and the first watched by her parents.
Speaking after the race, Beth said: “I have mixed emotions to be honest. I had a great swim and then just lost the pack going into the cycle. I made some passes during the run and I closed a big gap, so I was glad to have found my legs again.
“There’s a lot I can build on – especially on the bike but overall I’m happy. I’ll just be chilling out now until the Mixed Relay on Saturday and then for running on the track on Monday.”
Potter, Austin and Sheldon will race again at Southport Broadwater Parkland on Saturday 7 at 13:01hrs (04:01hrs UK Time) in the Mixed Relay alongside Erin Wallace, who makes her senior Games debut having won gold for Scotland in the 1500m at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas.